Hisham: No war with North Korea yet, but we’re ready

Hishamuddin-Hussein KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is prepared for the possibility of war with North Korea, the defence minister said today.

Speaking on the likelihood of armed conflict amid deteriorating diplomatic ties with the communist state, Hishammuddin Hussein said it had not yet reached that point, adding that Malaysia would deal with it when the time came.

He said although Malaysia might not have the defence capabilities to compete with North Korea, “it does not mean we do not have our own advantage to face any possibility”.

Hishammuddin gave the example of the search for missing aircraft MH370 which began in 2013.

“We (Malaysia) had no assets to look for the missing plane. But 26 countries came forward with the most sophisticated technology.

“We have close bilateral ties with many countries. This is our advantage,” he told reporters at the Dewan Rakyat lobby.

However, he repeated the assurance that despite tense relations between Malaysia and North Korea, it had not yet reached the point of war.

“It will be better if we do not reach that point,” he said.

He added that negotiations to release nine Malaysians from North Korea would continue.

Asked on rumours that Malaysia had arms dealings with North Korea, Hishammuddin said he was not aware of the issue.

“We have no such dealings with North Korea. Not that I know of personally, anyway, but that does not mean we do not have links with other powers.

“I mean better (to) work with countries that have links with us and build on that,” he said.

North Korea has barred Malaysians from leaving the country amid police investigations into the murder of Kim Jong Nam.

In response, Putrajaya issued an order barring North Koreans from leaving the country. Prime Minister Najib Razak has called for the immediate release of the Malaysians in Pyongyang. – FMT

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